As Philadelphia police searched for the gunmen who killed 15-year-old Juan Carlos Robles-Corana on Monday afternoon, his mother pleaded for anyone with information about the slaying to contact police.

“Please, please help me find who did this, because he didn’t deserve this,” Maria Balbuena said Tuesday afternoon as she stood at a vigil on the spot where her son was gunned down in the 2200 block of North 15th Street. “... He didn’t deserve to go out like this. To be left in the middle of the street like garbage.”

Balloons, stuffed animals, and candles marked the spot where he was killed on the street where Juan lived with his family, just a block from Tanner Duckery School, where he was an eighth grader.

At 2:42 p.m. Monday, police said, two males fired at least 20 shots at Robles-Corana, littering the sidewalk with fired cartridge cases.

Nearby police heard the gunfire and found the teen lying in the street with at least four gunshot wounds to his torso, said Capt. John Walker, commanding officer of the Police Department’s shooting investigation group. Officers rushed him to Temple University Hospital, where he died just after 3 p.m. that day.

Robles-Corana had moved with his mother and three siblings from New York City in 2020 for a fresh start, his mother said. “At first he was not too happy about it because he missed his friends, he missed his cousins. But he learned to love the city,” Balbuena, 33, said. “He would say, ‘Mama, I’m a Philly boy.’”

The teen’s death was among 126 homicides in the city so far this year, up slightly from the total at the same time last year.

Police are also searching for the gunman who shot a 13-year-old boy Monday night in the Mill Creek section of West Philadelphia. That shooting was reported shortly before 8:30 p.m. at 49th and Hoopes Street. The boy, who is in critical condition, was sitting alone in the front passenger seat of his mother’s Acura SUV when someone approached the car from that side and opened fire, police said.

Balbuena said she learned that her son had been shot when someone from Duckery School called to say he had not picked up his two younger siblings who attend the same school. She said she immediately called her son’s cellphone to find out where he was, only to hear the voice of a police officer telling her that the boy was at the hospital.

Later, Balbuena said she returned to the crime scene and spoke to two detectives.

“They handed over to me his bookbag and said they were collecting information,” she said. “That’s all they said. Nobody has told me nothing else.”

Balbuena said she had no idea who would want to harm her son. But his last days were tumultuous, she said, and included a fight at school last week.

On Friday, she said, she went to talk to school officials about the fight. “We had a meeting, basically to avoid any guns getting involved,” she said fighting back tears, surrounded by neighbors and her son’s classmates as people began gathering at the vigil for her son.

Balbuena said school security cameras recorded her son leaving school early Monday, at about 2:36 p.m. instead of the regular dismissal time just before 3. She believes he was upset and was heading back to school to get his siblings when he was shot.

On Tuesday afternoon, she begged her son’s classmates to turn away from violence and to remember her son as a good kid who liked to have fun. In his honor, his brother Aiden, 10, and some of the classmates made dancing videos to post on TikTok. “Do it for him,” Aiden told the crowd.

“I just need to know why. Was your hatred so much that you had to kill my baby like this?” Balbuena asked. “I don’t want no vengeance, I don’t want nobody else to be shot. I just want to know what happened. What did he do, what did he do to be murdered like this?”